Secrets can be kept for various reasons, including maintaining trust or gaining an advantage.
Some secrets kids keep from their mothers can range from personal matters, such as body image concerns or crushes, to family-related cases like Dad’s temper. Hiding this information could have severe repercussions for all involved parties involved.
1. Your mom needs to know
Keeping secrets involving drug and alcohol use or sexual activity is almost always harmful, particularly to a child’s mental health. A study revealed that children who keep secrets tend to have lower self-esteem and a greater risk of depression. If your teen is hiding anything from you, now may be the time for dialogue.
There may be instances when keeping secrets is necessary, such as when your teen’s safety is threatened. But it’s essential to make sure they feel comfortable telling you the truth; family therapy sessions or other forms of support could help achieve this.
Certain secrets can be deeply distressing, like having an affair with your husband; even so, it is usually better to share these details with both sets of parents instead of keeping them secret from each other. Holding back can lead to confusion and miscommunication – leading to hurt feelings on both sides. Parents must know their teen’s difficulties at school and discuss potential solutions together.
Children may keep secrets from their mothers because they fear she won’t approve, which may be a telltale sign that they’re having issues with body image or friendships. It is best to address these concerns early before they become serious problems. Hiding things from mom can also add unnecessary tension within relationships, so when keeping secrets, it should always be brought up calmly and respectfully to foster growth for both parties involved. An established parent-child bond is critical for the healthy development of any child.
2. You need to know
My friend recently had to confront her son’s behavior at school. He had been getting in trouble, and she was concerned about his grades. Though he asked that this remain secret between mom and himself, she felt she owed it to both of them to tell them the truth; parenting should be seen as a joint endeavor, and both children should feel included in it.
If safety is the concern, I suggest seeking professional guidance or family therapy before sharing this secret with your child. Otherwise, it would be best if you spoke to them about why they wish you to keep this a secret and suggest solutions – this provides an excellent opportunity to teach them how to be open and honest with their biological parent.
If you choose to share, do it privately and allow both spouses time before discussing it with your child. My friend found that doing it this way helped them move forward with honesty and trust in their relationships, showing empathy with her son, who would be more prepared to have difficult conversations about his mom’s behavior than if they kept it a secret. Keeping things quiet only further eroded their already fragile bonds.
4. You’re not alone
Most of us learn to mask our pain, anger, frustration, and feelings of not enoughness from our mothers by “putting on a happy face” and attending to others’ needs and wants instead.
Jeanny’s parents concealed her grandmother’s breast cancer diagnosis for months, believing they were protecting her from pain and preventing anxiety or depression from setting in.
Secret-keeping, however, may do more harm than good. A study from Columbia University discovered that when people kept secrets, it led to preoccupation, less trust, and lower satisfaction with life.
Imber-Black emphasizes this point for sick or dying parents being asked to keep a secret about their illness from their children. She notes that secrecy may seem like a way for a sick parent to protect his or her offspring, but it can create more distance and emotional and physical strain within families.
So, if your stepchild has asked you to keep something confidential from their biological mother, take a deep breath and be grateful that they trust you to keep this secret. Once that trust has been earned, problem-solve on how best to approach this conversation without safety concerns, or role-play or practice beforehand so they feel more at ease about bringing up this topic with their mother.